The National Media Commission (NMC) has announced a determination of the matter in which National Security operatives invaded the premises of Accra-based Citi FM, arrested two journalists and hauled them away for questioning.
In a statement released June 2, the Commission said it decided in favor of the Citi FM journalists, one of whom, Caleb Kudah, had allegedly been brutally assaulted by a mob of Police officers.
“The National Media Commission has determined that the treatment meted out to Mr. Caleb Kudah by the Ministry of National Security operatives and the subsequent invasion of the premises of Citi FM & Citi TV on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, was wrongful.
“The Commission took the view that all institutions in a democratic state must act within the law and adopt approaches that reflect democratic values.
“This was the outcome of the Commission’s settlement meetings under the Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists following a response from the Ministry of National Security that the handling of Mr. Kudah and their presence at the premises of the media house were “excessive and unprofessional.”
The NMC statement is signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr. George Sarpong.
It was out of that incident that Mr. Kudah reports he had been handcuffed, made to kneel and then kicked in the groin by Lt. Col. Agyemang. Lt. Col. Agyemang would later be rewarded with a new appointment by President Akufo-Addo even after National Security had interdicted him.
Caleb Kudah had been arrested for making video recordings of state vehicles that had been abandoned on the premises of National security. A colleague of his, Zoe Abu-Baidoo, to whom he had forwarded the footages, had also been picked up by heavily armed National Security and also questioned.
Later the National Security would release a statement almost justifying the brutal assaults by saying Mr. Kudah had stolen into the National Security premises to film without permission. However, Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini has argued that since he was recording the footage to report a story in the interest of the State, he was doing no wrong.
Meanwhile, the NMC writes that it welcomes the actions taken by National Security so far in respect of the case.
“The Commission welcomed the actions taken so far by the Ministry and hoped these represented a renewed commitment to democratic approaches to the management of security in the nation.
“The Commission further called for the review of laws relating to security and media, especially those about prohibited areas within the context of the Constitution (1992).
“It was the view of the Commission that all journalistic enterprise must be carried out openly and follow thoroughly the due process. However, there could be moments where overriding national interest may necessitate the use of undercover methods. In such moments, journalists require greater care and circumspection to ensure their safety.
“The commission is of the view that in the national interest and the strengthening of democracy, there must be regular orientation programmes for both the media and security operatives to recognise and appreciate each other’s role.”